The 2017 budget is not a people-oriented one where ordinary masses already suffering from regular and difficult rises in the cost of living will not get any relief from the marginal reduction in prices of some essential commodities, K.H.J. Wijedasa, veteran retired public servant and former Presidential Secretary says. People are burdened with many indirect [...]

The Sunday Times Sri Lanka

Budget not people-friendly

View(s):

The 2017 budget is not a people-oriented one where ordinary masses already suffering from regular and difficult rises in the cost of living will not get any relief from the marginal reduction in prices of some essential commodities, K.H.J. Wijedasa, veteran retired public servant and former Presidential Secretary says.

People are burdened with many indirect taxes and this budget was no different from previous budgets presented during the past 10 to 12 years.

It’s like new wine in old bottle, as the present government has no options other than following the regular budgetary practices in the face of a skyrocketing debt burden, he said. The budget speech is like “vachika pachanaya” (verbal diarrhoea), he said in lighter vein.

Mr. Wijedasa pointed out that this government has also resorted to the previous government’s practice of increasing taxes before the budget and the Finance Minister has nothing much to say about the revenue proposals which were listed in the annexure.

The reduction of the prices of green gram, dhal, potato, sprats and white sugar will not ease the cost of living burden of ordinary people who earn little, he said.

The government’s initiative to reduce the indirect to direct tax ratio from the present level of 80:20 to 60:40 is a very good thing, he said adding that offering scholarships for excellent university students to study in Harvard University and Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and higher education loans up to Rs. 800,000 for 15,000 students who fail to enter state universities and free tabs for Advanced Level (A/L) students and teachers as well as special insurance coverage for the students were praiseworthy.

Mr. Wijedasa said that he was shocked when he heard the budget proposal to provide commercial scale farmers with a minimum land plot of 1,000 acres on a long term lease basis. He noted that this will adversely impact on the environment as these people will definitely cut trees destroying forest cover and wild life.

Advertising Rates

Please contact the advertising office on 011 - 2479521 for the advertising rates.